Family struggles with deaths of young girls killed in fiery I-65 crash
By Casey Toner firstname.lastname@example.org August 16, 2013 8:22AM
The soldering remains of a semitrailer sit on Interstate 65 late Thursday at the 230 mile marker in Jasper County. | Indiana State Police photo
Updated: September 18, 2013 6:06AM
When Merrillville resident Veronica Goldman-House came down with heart problems a few years ago, she looked to her grandchildren Yazmin Goldman and Arielle Goldman for strength.
“It’s like they were a reason to live, a reason to believe,” Goldman-House said. “It’s like when you wake up in the morning and you look out and there’s a new day. That’s the feeling they gave me.”
The two sisters, ages 5 and 3, along with their mother, Merrillville resident Lindsey Williams, 27, and their aunt and two cousins were among the seven people who were killed in a tragic three-vehicle crash Thursday night on Interstate 65 near the 230 mile marker in Jasper County, according to the Indiana State Police and the Jasper County coroner.
Also killed in the accident were Amado Mangual, 49, of Merrillville, and Atlanta residents Jamin Osborne, 5, Jasmin Osborne, 7, and Yvette Williams, 35. Lindsey’s sister is Yvette and Yvette’s two children are Jamin and Jasmin, according to family.
They were all driving home from Indianapolis when the accident occurred, Goldman-House said.
“It has been devastating, really emotional,” she said. “It’s like a dream or something you can’t wake up from.”
A preliminary crash investigation by Trooper Ricky Rayner revealed that Steven Crockett, 33, of Union, Ohio, was driving a 2012 Freightliner semi truck pulling a box trailer north on I-65 near the 230-mile marker. A Jeep Cherokee was following the semi truck.
Because of a traffic backup from a work zone, the Freightliner and Jeep stopped. A northbound 2007 Volvo semi truck also pulling a box trailer and being driven by Howard Stratton, 55, of Grand Rapids, Mich., rear-ended the Jeep, pushing it into the back of the trailer being pulled by the Freightliner.
The crash impact ignited a fire that engulfed the Jeep. The fire also burned the cab and part of the trailer on the Volvo. It also burned part of the trailer on the Freightliner.
After firefighters extinguished the flames, they determined at least two people were in the Jeep. A final determination on the number of victims wasn’t made until midday Friday.
The driver of the Volvo semi was treated for a body pain complaint at Franciscan St. Anthony Health-Crown Point and the driver of the other semi truck was not injured.
Goldman-House said Lindsey Williams was the girlfriend of her son, Dakota Goldman, and together they had Yazmin and Arielle. Dakota called her Friday morning to break the news.
“I just couldn’t believe it,” Goldman-House said. “I just broke down and started crying because I couldn’t believe it that it happened.”
Standing on her front porch, Goldman-House recalled taking care of Yazmin and Arielle often while their mother worked. She would take them to Miller Beach in Gary and to the softball fields to watch games. She said the two girls, who attended Embassies of Christ Kingdom Ministries in Gary with their mother, enjoyed riding bikes and blowing bubbles.
Cory House, Yazmin and Arielle’s grandfather, remembered a trip he went on with Yazmin to the Wisconsin State Fair two years ago. He looked forward to taking both sisters to the fair this year.
“They meant the whole world to me,” said House, a Gary Police Department corporal.
Arrangements are pending.
Contributing: Sun-Times Media